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Photo: Inspire Courses / Jared Butler

“Surfboards are like having these different flavors in life that give us (different) experiences and sensations.” Photo: Inspire Courses//Jared Butler

The Inertia

Surfboards are more than just longboards and shortboards, single fins and thrusters. And as refined as some of surfing’s most high-performance shapes have become over the years, there’s a ton of magic to find riding everything in between those standards. Leah Dawson reminded us of this in expert fashion when she designed her Guide to Alternative Surf Craft with Inspire Courses, breaking down the prominent design elements of unique board shapes as well as helping students develop an approach to surfing them all.

While there’s a lot to learn about the mechanics of things like foot placement and tube riding, and how those elements change on each style and shape of board, it’s Leah’s philosophy that really drives her range of abilities on a variety of shapes. She’s curious about the different ways different boards interact with waves, and how each of those translates to an entirely new experience surfing. Here’s just a sample of Leah’s “flavor of the month” philosophy that can inspire the best of us to break out of the ordinary, whether it’s a new fin set up or an entirely new board we’ve been curious about for ages.

You Might Find Some Magic

“Surfboards are like having these different flavors in life that give us (different) experiences and sensations. It’s really cool because it blends art, it blends science, and hydrodynamics, and all of these things that seem so complicated and hard to comprehend. But in that moment, you’re standing on that wave, and you know that you have a magic board under your feet and there’s nothing better.”

Leah Dawson. Photo: Jared Butler/Inspire Courses

Leah Dawson. Photo: Jared Butler//Inspire Courses

Don’t Knock It ‘Til…

As with all types of surfboards, you could say something doesn’t work and then you see someone going out and riding it and making it more than work. And so we can never knock it ’til we try it.”

Photo: Inspire Courses.

Follow Your Gut

“It’s always a game of fun and exploration. And it’s always an experiment. It’s fun to explore different shapes and trade with a friend. Or you know, sell the board if you have one that you don’t like and you don’t feel like it works for you and you want to try something else. Yeah, follow that gut instinct and swap it out.”

Editor’s Note: Read more about Leah Dawson’s course here, and you can also access  Leah’s entire Guide to Alternative Surf Craft with Inspire Courses now. The 17-video digital class highlights several of Leah’s favorite boards as well as insights into the techniques and mechanics applied to surfing them. Access the course today.


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